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Google's "iLost" Motorola ad faked an address to "lose" iOS 6 Maps

post #1 of 268
Thread Starter 
Google's Motorola Mobility subsidiary went looking for an address that didn't actually exist in an effort to artificially portray Apple's new iOS 6 Maps as deficient.

In a marketing ploy not unlike Nokia's faked camera shots to promote features of its new Windows Phone 8 models, an ad promoting Motorola's Droid RAZR M is portrayed being able to locate an address that iOS 6 Maps directs to a wrong road name in what appears to be the wrong city.

"Looking for 315 E 15th in Manhattan?" Motorola Mobility posed on its Google+ site. "Google Maps on DROID RAZR M will get you there & not #iLost in Brooklyn."

iLost.092712.jpg


Droid, aren't these the ones you are looking for?

The problem, as noted by reader AMD Pettitte, is that 315 E 15th Street is not an actual address in Manhattan. A public park sits on that side of the street, making none of the block's odd numbers a valid address. The number will never be a valid address in Manhattan. This is indicated by looking closely at the picture, but none of the thousands of people sharing the false address lookup ad seemed to notice this.

So why would anyone actually be "looking for 315 E 15th" in New York? The only reasonable reason would be to locate an actual address that does exist in Brooklyn (which is also part of New York City), in an area where a series of numbered streets between East 11th and E 16th now have assigned names.

What was apparently once the 300 block of East 15th Street is now named Marlborough Road. Five blocks away, Marlborough Road turns into E 15th Street, where numbers begin on the 800 block. So Apple's Maps returning a location on Marlborough Road when searching for East 15th Street isn't nearly as absurd as Google's ad portrays.

If you're looking for an actual address in Manhattan, say 318 E 15th, the apartment building across from Google's fictitious address in the park, Apple's Maps can correctly locate it (below).

iLost.092712.2.jpg


If you're not sure of the address, but you do know that it is in Manhattan, you'd naturally enter the correct borough rather than searching all of New York City, especially if you were being returned an actual valid address in Brooklyn instead. If you insist upon finding an address that can't really exist in Manhattan, Apple will locate it for you, with or without satellite images (below).

iLost.092712.3.jpg


iLost.092712.4.jpg


And if you enter an address that actually could exist in multiple places in New York, iOS 6 Maps will offer you a choice of potential targets (below). But if you're searching for an phony address that doesn't actually exist, you're already lost. You can't blame Apple, and neither should Google.

iLost.092712.1.jpg


Why is Google looking for problems that don't actually exist?

Apple's new Maps service certainly isn't without flaw, making the fake address goose-chase that Google invented to create its Droid "iLost" advertising even more surprising. Why not just point out a real address that Apple's Maps can't actually locate?

It's easy to come up with an address that isn't correct enough to locate. In testing "whats wrong" in iOS 6 Maps, I tried looking up a hotel in my contacts located in Sapporo, Japan, which the new Maps failed to locate it. However, I can't read Kanji. It turns out, as a reader "Success" commented, the address was formatted wrong.

The Japanese address had been generated for me by Google Maps, after I first looked up the address in English. When entered correctly in Kanji, iOS 6 Maps could locate the hotel (below), although it could not find it when searching in English, an actual problem for tourists. Apple does need to keep improving Maps's general search savvy.

iLost.092712.5.jpg


But I also experienced experienced problems with Google Maps in correctly locating Japanese businesses via English queries. Google frequently returned irrelevant, paid placement advertising spots in response to real queries for hotels or landmarks, without providing useful results.

Looking for problems that do actually exist

I looked up a series of local and international addresses in my Contacts (a mix of private homes, hotels, music venues and businesses) from Copenhagen to Berlin to Bern to Barcelona to Madrid to Milan to Lisbon to Prague to Seville to Tel Aviv to Vienna. Across the dozens of real international addresses I checked, Apple's new map service only failed to locate one of them in Copenhagen. Even when I manually located the spot, dropped a pin and copied the reported address into the search field, iOS 6 Maps refused to locate it for some reason.

In locating a friend's house about a hour south of Vienna in rural Austria, I noticed that when zooming down to the detailed street level with sattelite photos on, the aerial images shifted from color to black and white, but they were still detailed enough to clearly identify houses.

iLost.092712.6.jpg


Comparing iOS 5 Maps, the same address had no satellite images at all below city detail. I could actually zoom through five levels of "no images" titles supplied by Google. So in some areas, Apple's satellite coverage is actually much better than Google's, just as Apple's Flyover is superior to Google Earth and Apple's directions are in some cases legal and safe while Google's are not.

iLost.092712.7.jpg


The only U.S. addresses that I found to stump iOS 6 Maps (I tried dozens, from tiny rural towns to large cities and newly constructed suburban areas) were local ones here in San Francisco where I'd just entered cross streets: "8th and Folsom" didn't return any results in the new maps. When the search was changed to "8th & Folsom" iOS 6 Maps correctly pinpointed the intersection. However, "and" addresses that just supply cross street are also a problem for Google Maps.

Searching for "8th and Folsom" in the Google-powered Maps running on iOS 5 jumped me to "8 Folsom, PA," a two day journey of 2880 miles away from San Francisco, where the map was centered. That's not a phony address invented to make Maps "iLost." it's a real address that Google offers to find directions for me in obviously the wrong place.

iLost.092712.8.jpg


Of course, I didn't start driving for two days. I simply corrected the query to "8th & Folsom" and iOS 5 Maps correctly found it via Google's maps servers, just like the new version of Maps powered by Apple's servers. Which is exactly what users in New York would do when searching for an incorrect, ambiguous street address that returned something other than the expected result.
post #2 of 268
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Google's Motorola Mobility subsidiary went looking for an address that didn't actually exist in an effort to artificially portray Apple's new iOS 6 Maps as deficient.

I hope Apple sues them into oblivion.

Equally important, I hope that all the media that has been spewing this fact-free story will retract it and publicize Google's fraud. Of course, that's probably too much to ask.


In spite of all the noise, there's not one shred of evidence that Apple's Maps is significantly worse than the other options out there. They all have failures.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #3 of 268
nothing you can do to stop the haters from hating and the cloners from cloning. Like you said, if you try real hard, you can find problems with any Mapping software. I have not used the new maps a ton yet (it just came out), but i have not had any issues finding things in the multiple states i have used it in.
post #4 of 268

No scruples in advertising. 

"Building for the future?! They should be running around reacting to the present!" -John Moltz
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"Building for the future?! They should be running around reacting to the present!" -John Moltz
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post #5 of 268
Oh boy. Normally, I would not call for someone's job. In this case, what else is there to say? After all, they only had to "google" to find a good example where iOS Maps would stumble.
post #6 of 268

Busted!

 

Resorting to flat out lying and making up fake addresses that don't exist in their deceptive and false ads?

 

What a bunch of lowlife scumbags. 

post #7 of 268
"Why is Google looking for problems that don't actually exist?"

Because they're just that incompetent?
post #8 of 268
Wow, that was just like an actual investigative reporting news story - way to go.
post #9 of 268

Nokia: fakes (recent photo faking)

Google/Moto: fakes

 

This is what desperation does. 

 

Google is afraid to lose a massive chunk of the maps/navigation market. Not to mention the most well-heeled segment of the market. The more successful Apple gets, the more they are fulfilling Steve Jobs' vision: to go it alone, and provide the most integrated complete end-to-end experience possible. 

 

As for Nokia. Well, that's just sad, in a way. 

post #10 of 268
Lol!
Apple just sold over 5 million iPhone 5 s in the past week and a half so this crap by Moto is mute IMHO. And Apple did it with their own hardware and software.
post #11 of 268
while i'm not championing the ad, and i do believe it is sleazy and misleading, perhaps they used that address because the address really is "an address" in the sense that if anything is ever built there there will already be an address assigned. it happens with vacant lots all the time, even if there is no structure.

even the new york city map website says it's an address. as opposed to an address that genuinely doesn't exist (take 681 E 38th St for example, which would be smack dab in the middle of the east river.)

edit: forgot to add that it is not lost on me that the nyc map site might rely on google maps, but on its face that does not appear to be the case.
post #12 of 268

Here's a suggestion.

Stop referring to it as "Google's Motorola Mobility subsidy" and just call it Google.

Or else start referring to "Apple's PlaceBase subsidy." 

post #13 of 268

Sounds more like they've, GooMoto, lost it.

And the case over the claim, if it goes to court, I expect. lol

post #14 of 268
How is this not all over the other forums or news sites? THIS news they don't care about.
post #15 of 268

I beg to differ but I'm in Manhattan and searching for "318 e 15st" gives me something near state college PA.  "318 e 15 st" gives me "no results found".

 

For me searching apple maps in NYC does not work.

 

I'm not sure why my results differ with the authors so much, but unless I include a zip code when I'm searching for an address in NYC I'm generally told no results found or given a far away, completely inaccurate place.

 

Just to update... If I spell out 318 E 15th st (with the th after 15) it does give me a proper result. However, several other even numbered addresses on 15th st take me to the marlborough rd in the ad. In Apple's defense in this case, I dont know if its because they dont exist as buildings. Maybe I'll walk over there (or look at addresses in street view).

 

I can firmly state though that searching for legitimate addresses on 12th st lead to warminster road in some far away place and legitimate addresses on avenues come up as no results found in NYC. Searching for essex street while in Manhattan takes me to an outer borough with no other options to choose from. The ad may be a tiny bit misleading but they could have easily found a completely legit address that still stumped the maps app.

 

I'm a huge loyal apple fan but the maps need a lot of work and they deserve the criticism they're getting.


Edited by smags - 9/27/12 at 12:58pm
post #16 of 268
So what do we have now, a reverse map-gate? Begun, the Map Wars have.
post #17 of 268

And yet once again, the iHaters, trolls, and Tekstuddites are conveniently absent.  Eating crow seems to be the dish of the day for these a$$hats. 

post #18 of 268

This just confirms the impression that most of the noise over maps on iOS 6 is coming from a Google orchestrated PR campaign that includes false and misleading ads like this one, significant shepherding of media and bloggers to "get Google's story out", and a wide-scale astroturfing campaign.

 

The question the media and blogosphere out to be asking is, "Is there any deception that Google will not stoop to?"

post #19 of 268
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


I hope Apple sues them into oblivion.


I would demand that Motorola posts an apology on this.  Absolutely shameful behavior from what was once a proud company.  Whoever made the decision to approve this ad I hope loses his/her job.  Shame on them.

post #20 of 268

This is an example of very good investigation and a well-written explanation. Kudos to the author.

 

I would like to think it's just sloppy work on Moto's part rather than intentionally misleading, but only the people who developed the ad would know for certain. I would betcha there's a couple of execs in high places that want to know how they settled on that particular address.

melior diabolus quem scies
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melior diabolus quem scies
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post #21 of 268
And instead of seeking a monetary award, Apple should ask for Motorola to place full page ads apologizing, in every magazine the original ad was published.
post #22 of 268

Bing Maps can find it.

 

 

Nokia Maps can find it.

 

 

We all know Google Maps can find it.

 

And somehow this doesn't expose a deficiency with Apple's Maps at all? Why can't Apple's mapping solution find it if its competitors can?

"Very disappointing to have people judging something without all the facts." - charlituna.
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"Very disappointing to have people judging something without all the facts." - charlituna.
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post #23 of 268

It might be a fun exercise to Google (see what I did there?) every blog post or forum content from the last week with "315 E 15th" and "New York" in them, to ferret out all the Fandroids who claimed that this was an actual failure for Apple's maps.

  Google Maps: ("Directions may be inaccurate, incomplete, dangerous, or prohibited.")

 

  MA497LL/A FB463LL/A MC572LL/A FC060LL/A MD481LL/A MD388LL/A ME344LL/A

Reply

  Google Maps: ("Directions may be inaccurate, incomplete, dangerous, or prohibited.")

 

  MA497LL/A FB463LL/A MC572LL/A FC060LL/A MD481LL/A MD388LL/A ME344LL/A

Reply
post #24 of 268
Quote:
Originally Posted by smags View Post

I beg to differ but I'm in Manhattan and searching for "318 e 15st" gives me something near state college PA.  "318 e 15 st" gives me "no results found".

For me searching apple maps in NYC does not work.


if you post a screen shot in the next twenty seconds i'll believe you. otherwise your two posts smells of troll.
post #25 of 268
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

It might be a fun exercise to Google (see what I did there?) every blog post or forum content from the last week with "315 E 15th" and "New York" in them, to ferret out all the Fandroids who claimed that this was an actual failure for Apple's maps.

It is a failure if your competitors can find it and your solution is lacking isn't it? Look above.

"Very disappointing to have people judging something without all the facts." - charlituna.
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"Very disappointing to have people judging something without all the facts." - charlituna.
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post #26 of 268
Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaxyTab View Post

Bing Maps can find it.

 

 

Nokia Maps can find it.

 

 

We all know Google Maps can find it.

 

And somehow this doesn't expose a deficiency with Apple's Maps at all? Why can't Apple's mapping solution find it if its competitors can?

 

 

 

there is no such address according to the NYC department of buildings website. every address in NYC is in their system

 

everyone except apple probably used fake placeholders or if there is a big gap in numbers they probably have a location estimate algorithm

post #27 of 268
OK - that was enough to make me change my iPhone 5 safari settings to use Bing instead of google for searches...
post #28 of 268
Quote:
Originally Posted by maccherry View Post

Lol!
Apple just sold over 5 million iPhone 5 s in the past week and a half so this crap by Moto is mute IMHO. And Apple did it with their own hardware and software.

moot?
post #29 of 268
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwmac View Post

I actually think all this bad publicity will turn out to be a huge advantage for Apple long term. Think about it. Apple hates criticism with any merit. They have billions in the bank to fix the problem by hiring mapping experts, mapping engineers, and anything else they need to do. Instead of going slowly and taking their time to resolve the issue I bet Apple is going to pull out all the stops and dramatically improve Maps far, far faster that they would have done if no one really commented about it. Google may end up regretting all this bad publicity for Apple maps since Apple has the ability and now determination to correct these issues at a lightning instead of snail's pace. 

 

 

That's an interesting point. 

post #30 of 268
This is an example of how easily people accept Google results as law. Over the years I have found Google's Maps for iOS to be highly flawed (in NYC) for a mapping service that has been around so long. So most of the fervent criticism of Apple Maps struck me as spoiled rhetoric %u2013 which will always be Apple's problem because they consistently raise the bar so high that people expect perfection from them.

I don't want to diminish the real mistakes in Apple Maps, but I just can't empathize since I have yet to find any trouble with the new Maps. I updated my iPhone 3GS - yes, 3GS %u2013 right before going on a weekend trip to upstate NY to a not-so populated town not even thinking that I might be jeopardizing my access to reliable mapping. Yet the maps worked perfectly. It helped my wife and I with our newborn baby find our way around flawlessly, a couple times even better than Google Maps probably would have with its missing image grids trying to keep up with low signal spots.
post #31 of 268
post #32 of 268
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

there is no such address according to the NYC department of buildings website. every address in NYC is in their system

perhaps because there is no structure there? see my earlier post, where i mention that the new york city map website can find it.
post #33 of 268
Quote:
Originally Posted by smags View Post

I beg to differ but I'm in Manhattan and searching for "318 e 15st" gives me something near state college PA.  "318 e 15 st" gives me "no results found".

 

For me searching apple maps in NYC does not work.

 

I agree. Try "coney island, brooklyn" with or without the comma. Gives you a bizarre location in Brooklyn, miles from Coney Island.

 

I don't know why Google/Motorola was stupid enough to use a fake address. There are plenty of real ones that don't work.

 

post #34 of 268
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

This is an example of very good investigation and a well-written explanation. Kudos to the author.

 

I would like to think it's just sloppy work on Moto's part rather than intentionally misleading, but only the people who developed the ad would know for certain. I would betcha there's a couple of execs in high places that want to know how they settled on that particular address.

 

And I would betcha there's a couple of execs in high places at Google, named Larry and Eric, who green-lighted this.

post #35 of 268

Sorry, not a troll.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pooch View Post


if you post a screen shot in the next twenty seconds i'll believe you. otherwise your two posts smells of troll.

 

post #36 of 268

What a strange thing to do when there's so many genuine mistakes in Apple's Maps app.

 

For example, Tottenham Court Road station (used by 100,000 people a day) in London is missing. I reported the problem the days that iOS 6 was released and Apple still hasn't fixed the problem. 

post #37 of 268
Losing Google's YouTube App on iOS:
No biggie...we don't have to watch Gangnam Style

Losing Google Maps on iOS:
Millions of users in the Apple community disoriented...Apple, this is a monumental and fundamental part of what makes the iPhone or any smartphone a fledging Internet communications device. We have become so dependant on this in our daily lives and we take google maps as a feature that we pay for on iPhone having paid 1000's of dollars on products.

When the first iPhone came out, google maps was a primary feature and since then it always has been for millions of us. Now... Suddenly this smartphone is not so smart after all is it?

All we as customers want is some official statement regarding the situation so we can make calculated decisions in our own lives. The majority of users don't care about your beef with Google... We just want to know what's going to be done about this fiasco of epic proportions.
post #38 of 268
Quote:
Originally Posted by smags View Post

I'm a huge loyal apple fan but the maps need a lot of work and they deserve the criticism they're getting.

 

With two posts.  And you joined last week.  Uh, yeah, not buying it.

  Google Maps: ("Directions may be inaccurate, incomplete, dangerous, or prohibited.")

 

  MA497LL/A FB463LL/A MC572LL/A FC060LL/A MD481LL/A MD388LL/A ME344LL/A

Reply

  Google Maps: ("Directions may be inaccurate, incomplete, dangerous, or prohibited.")

 

  MA497LL/A FB463LL/A MC572LL/A FC060LL/A MD481LL/A MD388LL/A ME344LL/A

Reply
post #39 of 268
Another great, detailed article Daniel. Thank you

I've lost any remaining trust in Google. I've switched all my default search to Bing. It's actually pretty darned good. I recommend everyone giving it try

Windows survivor - after a long, epic and painful struggle. Very long AAPL

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Windows survivor - after a long, epic and painful struggle. Very long AAPL

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post #40 of 268
Quote:
Originally Posted by smags View Post

Sorry, not a troll.

 

 

Ok, so you're not a troll maybe, but maybe you're just doing it wrong.

 

I'm in NYC too, and I just fired up my iPad 3 real quick and did a search for 318 e 15 st, and while I'm typing a big list of suggestions pop up and even before I'm done typing the address, the very first one on the list is 318 E 15th St New York, NY.

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